Curiosities and trivia

7 July 2022

After the success of Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra, a drama in two acts with which Rossini made his debut in Naples at the Teatro San Carlo on 4 October 1815, the composer began to think of a new opera to be presented to the Neapolitan public.
The subject of La gazzetta is based on Carlo Goldoni’s play Il matrimonio per concorso, written in 1763 during his stay in Paris and performed for the first time in the autumn of the same year at the Teatro San Luca in Venice. The plot is quite simple: after several events Pandolfo and Anselmo, two Italian merchants who hoped to win over their daughters Lisetta and Doralice, will have to accept for both marriages for love.

Il matrimonio per concorso immediately caught the attention of the musical theater and there are many works composed on that text. The first of them is performed during the Carnival of 1767 at the Teatro San Moisè, composed by Felice Alessandri on the libretto by Gaetano Martinelli, followed by other versions with music by Niccolò Jommelli (1768), Pasquale Anfossi (1789) and Giuseppe Farinelli (1813). In particular, it is the opera Avviso al pubblico set to music by Giuseppe Mosca, first performed at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 1814, that influenced La gazzetta, and it may have been Rossini himself who suggested this subject to the librettist Giuseppe Palomba, that transforms the character of Pandolfo into the classic Neapolitan funny Don Pomponio Storione, a character created ad hoc for the actor and singer Carlo Casaccia.

Between 1815 and 1816 Rossini’s activity became frenetic and the opera’s debut, originally scheduled for Easter 1816, was postponed until late summer. We must wait until September 26 of that year to see the opera finally on stage at the Teatro de' Fiorentini: on October 8, the composer writes to his mother, verbatim: "Finally I Got Off My Stomach a Big Weight".